One of the reasons Larry Nance Jr. was inserted into the starting lineup this season is because he is one of the only players on the roster whose main focus is on the defensive end.
So far Nance is making head coach Luke Walton look great as he currently leads the Lakers in rebounding with 7.9 per game and steals with 1.6. He is contributing on the offensive end as well, averaging 11.1 points per game on 60.4 percent from the field.
Regardless, Nance knows that his calling card is on the defensive end and he is shooting for the highest praise on that end of the floor as he told Trevor Lane in an exclusive interview on the Lakers Nation Podcast:
“One thing that I’ve always been hanging my hat on is defense, but I really want to take that next step and be in the First-Team All-Defense talks. I absolutely have the ability to do so. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of effort…that’s what I would love to see, so I’m checking after every game to see leaderboards and where I stack up on steals and blocks and that kinda stuff. Taking every guy I match up with really seriously because that’s what that type of player does.”
Nance definitely has the talent and drive to accomplish that goal at some point in his career. He is capable of switching on to guards, does a good job of helpside defense, and is constantly making hustle plays and getting into the passing lanes.
It is always great for players to set goals for themselves and Nance clearly has a big one in mind. Time will tell whether he gets to that level, but with the Lakers’ defense improving so much as a team, Nance’s play could garner him some individual accolades as well.
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